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Informing Policy

At FPG, we are committed to closing the research to practice gap, achieving broader population benefits, and equipping policymakers with research-supported evidence. We do this by using the Institute’s research, implementation, and technical assistance capacities to inform and support policymakers. It is imperative that we promote effective service systems to achieve optimal child development, family, and community outcomes through research-informed policies. We're proud that FPG has a strong history of achieving results through contributing to the development of policies, programs, and initiatives for young children at federal, state, and local levels.

Featured People

Sandra Soliday Hong
Sandra Soliday Hong

Sandra Soliday Hong, PhD, is an expert in applied measurement of contextual and individual factors in early care and education (ECE) settings that relate to the outcomes of young children, particularly for children from diverse backgrounds. She started her career as a preschool teacher before working in applied ECE research, practice, and policy. Learn more about Hong and her work in this news story.

Denni Fishbein, PhD
Diana 'Denni' Fishbein

Denni Fishbein, PhD,  conducts studies using transdisciplinary methods and a developmental approach to understanding interactions between neurobiological processes and environmental factors. Her research supports the premise that underlying neurobiological mechanisms interact with the quality of our psychosocial experiences and environmental contexts to alter trajectories either toward or away from risk behaviors.

Featured Programs

Iheoma Iruka; woman with long braided hair smiles at camera
Equity Research Action Coalition

The Equity Research Action Coalition, with practitioners and policymakers, co-constructs actionable research to support the optimal development of Black children prenatally through childhood across the African diaspora using a cultural wealth framework. It will focus on developing a science-based action framework to eradicate the impact of racism and poverty and all its consequences on the lives of Black children, families, and communities, and to ensure optimal health, well-being, school readiness and success, and overall excellence.

pair of ACEs illustration; tree blooming with roots below in center surrounded b
Signature Event

In April 2023, the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) sponsored a statewide summit, Leveraging North Carolina’s Assets to Prevent Child Trauma. Nearly 150 representatives from academia, community and state organizations, lived experience, philanthropy, government agencies, and governing bodies convened in person, and approximately 230 joined the event virtually. Diana “Denni” Fishbein, PhD, a senior scientist at FPG, organized this two-day event. "I wanted to bring everybody together to co-create a statewide movement with constituent groups rallying around the same cause," said Fishbein.

The overarching goal of the summit was to identify common threads across constituent groups in North Carolina, each working to address child trauma, and determine how, together, we can co-create a statewide effort in community and policy spaces to tackle its sources and reduce its incidence.

Recent Work

North Carolina Statewide Birth-5 Needs Assessment Final Report

As part of North Carolina’s Preschool Development Grant, a team of FPG early childhood researchers worked together to produce a comprehensive Birth to 5 Needs Assessment report designed to significantly inform strategic planning and capacity building relative to what North Carolina is currently doing to meet its children’s early childhood care and education needs.

Read the North Carolina Statewide Birth-5 Needs Assessment Final Report here.

Blueprint for a U.S. Firearms Data Infrastructure

Robin Jenkins, policy division lead and associate director of the Impact Center at FPG, participated on an expert panel, convened by NORC at the University of Chicago, to study the problem of firearm data infrastructure and how to improve it. The panel crafted policy recommendations at the federal, state, and local levels to significantly improve the firearm data infrastructure across the country.

Read the Firearms Data Infrastructure Blueprint here.

Key Activities

Key activities for informing policy:

  • Enhancing FPG’s participation in various policy environments by leveraging our extensive subject matter expertise and experience. Examples include:
    • Assisting in literature reviews with collaborating partners to inform policy
    • Developing and delivering various educational presentations involving the full spectrum of child and adolescent development issues for policymakers’ consideration and use
    • Participating in task forces, work groups, ad hoc committees, and other policy-focused efforts to bring scientific expertise into the policymaking realm
    • Exploring databases to assist in answering relevant research questions or to directly link policy strategies and goals to specific data for evidence-based translation
    • Building effective relationships with policymakers that enable rapid responses for various requests involving policy development
  • Engaging in new policy research and translation, dissemination, and implementation activities to further advance evidence-based policymaking
  • Collaborating with public and private partners to leverage the capacities and resources necessary for evidence-informed policy decision-making at multiple levels

More about our work